The Inquirer-Home

Life is too connected to computers

Hexus Vexus
Tue Feb 10 2004, 14:38
EVERY MORNING I get up, walk downstairs, check the door mat for post, go make a coffee and walk into my office to start downloading the inevitable torrent of email. I then pick up the SMS on my cell phone and check for voicemails. By around 9:30 I have probably heard from over 100 people. Some of the mails will be chasing responses from earlier mails, some of which will be new channels.

So what? We all do this, don't we? You must be thinking, "Why is this guy wasting my time telling me what he does in the morning?". I believe that the convergence of our lives and technology is too close. people expect an instant response to an email and if you don't they will call you three hours later to check if you have got it for a response.

Let go back, say 20 years. People used to write letters to one another and wait for a reply. You would book an appointment to see your bank manager. Now I can get a loan with one phone call. This is all useful but expectations are now higher because of it? Will we totally lose human interaction? This is something which I believe might happen along with the death of the art of conversation.

Next week it's the Intel Developer Forum. Without doubt Intel will harp on to the press about the way that communication is getting better, and how it's making the world a better place.

But maybe we should all spend a day turning off our mobile phone and computer, just see how dependent we are on the these few transistors. I try and specifically put an avoidance on technology at the weekends but it is such an integral part of our lives without it all of us would be lost.

My mother for example, is a teacher of mathematics at a secondary school, she is computer literate and drives a green car - that is all she needs to be able to do, drive to school, take the lectures, and mark the homework which has been set. Look at how much of her life is dominated by computers - she has a mobile phone to call someone if she has a problem, but she rarely has it turned on so it is of little point unless she wants to get in touch with you. She uses a computer to do her worksheets and an electronic whiteboard to do the lectures. The entire world is being dragged in to being technology dependent, so who really is driving the way that we are doing things? Intel? Microsoft? I personally think the big chip technology companies are changing our lives and the way that we do things, whether we like it or not.

Maybe, in a the next 20 years we won't need to fly anywhere. The plasmas which we have mounted in the rooms will be able to skin themselves to put us anywhere in the world - meaning why visit the pyramids in Egypt? Sometimes it is just nice to escape. µ

David Ross is editor of British hardware site


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